Founded in 1936, La Colmena was Paraguay’s first Japanese agricultural colony. Many of the ancestors of the original one hundred families still dedicate themselves to growing fruit and cultivating honey in this region. Though the town is mostly populated by descendants of these immigrants they have integrated themselves so fully into Paraguayan culture that it is not uncommon to see elderly Japanese couples sitting outside drinking terere and conversing in Guarani. Despite their integration, many of their homeland traditions are still kept alive. For example, the cooperative store (located on the main plaza near the Municipal Office) sells Japanese goods including fresh tofu. La Colmena offers visitors two unique experiences in the middle of the Paraguayan countryside – an adventure filled trip to the nearby Salto Cristal and an authentic Japanese meal at Hotel Fujimi. In addition, the town’s founding coincides with Paraguayan Independence Day and is celebrated with a large festival that includes ajineteada (rodeo) attended by the area’s estancia workers.
Museo Fotografico Dr. Hideho Tanaka
Located in what was once the agricultural colony’s administrative office this museum contains many photos which portray the history of La Colmena as its founding families adjusted to their new tropical home. Tel: 0537 223 302, one and a half blocks from the town plaza and Municipal office along the main road into town. It may be opened upon request by Na Tami or Don Tomo who live next door and run the Farmacia La Colmena.
Hotel Fujimi This family run hotel has basic rooms, but the food is the main attraction. For a fixed price the hotel owner will prepare a delicious spread of authentic Japanese food including noodles, soups, fried fish, and vegetarian sushi. The variety is truly surprising given this town’s remote location. Meal requests must be made at least one day in advance. The further in advance you can arrange this the better as it gives the owner time to prepare and gather necessary ingredients. Tel: 0537 223 238, Corner of 15 de Agosto and Colombia, Double shared bathroom Gs.70,000, Double with private bathroom Gs. 90,000
Hotel Fujimi See previous listing for details.
Bar AnaUa This small diner serves delicious down home Paraguayan cooking including roasted chicken and thick, bright yellow tallarin (spaghetti). A good place to pick up sandwiches (try
the chicken milanesa) for eating at Salto Cristal. Plus the Cardozo Hermanos bus leaving town runs right past along the main road. Corner of Dr. Hideho Tanaka and Avenida 14 de Mayo one block from the town roundabout/ plaza, daily 9am-6pm, Gs. 8,000-Gs. 15,000
Take the turn off to La Colmena at Carapegua (km 84) on Route 1, at Acahay follow the fork in the road to the left. The Cardozo Hermanos bus line leaves from the Asuncion terminal approximately hourly starting at 4:30am The last bus leaves La Colmena at 5:30pm Gs. 15,000